Changes to GCSE Exams 2021

Dear Parent/Carer,

In August 2020 OFQUAL confirmed that there would be changes to the 2021 examination series due to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on students’ education.  As a result, many courses have made changes to the way in which they will examine students, whether this is through content or paper structure.  Teachers have been talking to students about these changes but we thought that it would be useful for parents to be able to see these changes to help support your child.  You will find this information on the student section of our website.  While a number of subjects have changed there are some subjects where what is expected of students has remained the same.

You will also no doubt be aware that the Department for Education has confirmed that GCSE exams in the Summer of 2021 have been put back by three weeks.  They will now start on the 7th June and end on the 2nd July.  The exception to this is that one GCSE Maths and English exam will be held just before the May half-term.  This is to enable any Year 11 students affected by Covid-19 the best chance of sitting a paper in each of these subjects.  Results day will now be Friday 27th August for GCSE students.

We hope that this information is useful and that your child is currently revising hard for their mock exams which begin on the 9th November.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

M Ball

Deputy Head Teacher

 

 

SUBJECT: Geography (AQA)

The changes to GCSE Geography this year only effect one out of the three exam papers.

Paper 1: Living with the physical environment

and

Paper 2: Challenges in the human environment

Will be assessed as normal and remain unchanged. This means there will be the normal types of questions, marks available and time allowed on both of these papers.

There have been some small changes to Paper 3: Geographical applications. They are as follows –

  • Students are no longer required to complete any fieldwork whatsoever (under normal circumstances students have to complete two different occasions of fieldwork)

 

  • Students will not have to answer any questions in paper 3 relating to their own fieldwork experiences. These questions will not appear in the exam.

 

  • Students will still have to answer general questions about fieldwork. These are worth a total of 16 marks. This is to assess whether students can apply a general understand of fieldwork to an ‘unfamiliar setting’.

 

  • Paper 3 will therefore be shorter and worth fewer marks. All other questions and available marks on the paper will remain unchanged. More specific details about timings will be made available as soon as AQA release them.

For any other queries concerning the Geography GCSE exam please contact the Head of Humanities via email at lventura@ridgewaysecondary.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SUBJECT: History (AQA)

History GCSE contains four distinct elements of study split across two exam papers. All four topics of study were given equal weight in the final exam and equal time for assessment. For exams in 2021, AQA have decided to allow students to be examined on only three out of the four topics. At Ridgeway Secondary we have decided that all students will now ‘drop’ their American expansion unit. This now results in the following –

Paper 1 Paper 2
American expansion and consolidation

1840 – 1895

 

 

Health and the people

1000 – Present day

Conflict and tension – the inter war years

1918 – 1939

 

 

Elizabethan England

1568 – 1603

AQA have not yet released the specific make up of the final exam (i.e. how many papers, which topics on which paper etc.) They have said that the amount of time dedicated to each topic will be one hour, meaning that the examination(s) will be three hours in total. This does not necessarily mean that it will be one three-hour exam, but it is a possibility. More information will be provided on this as soon as AQA release it.

SPaG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) will now only apply to one topic (conflict and tension 1918-1939).

There are no proposed changes to the questions themselves, the wording of them or to the associated mark schemes and assessment objectives.

For any other queries concerning the History GCSE exam please contact the Head of Humanities via email at lventura@ridgewaysecondary.org.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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SUBJECT: Creative Department

 

GCSE Subject

 

Assessment changes

 

 

Art

Assessment to be portfolio only. Permit exam boards to carry out moderation by photographic and/or digital portfolio.

 

Students will be assessed 100% on component 1

 

 

 

Design Technology

Permit exam boards to accept mock-ups and/or clear and detailed intentions of prototypes. Exam boards to provide clarification about their requirements. Permit demonstration of using machinery/tools/processes.

 

Students will still be assessed 50% NEA and 50% exam.

 

 

 

 

Food preparation and Nutrition

Removed NEA1: Science Investigation to allow students to focus on NEA 2.

 

Reduced the requirements for NEA2 to 2 dishes and accompaniments to be completed within 3 hours to allow for students to use complex processes such as baking, lamination, making ice-cream and to accommodate public health restrictions.

 

Students will still be assessed 50% NEA and 50% exam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Music

 

 

 

 

 

 

The practical component is removed

 

Performance Assessment:

Require students to perform 1 or more pieces of music with a combined duration of at least 1.5 minutes (if all solo performance) or 2 minutes (if including performance as part of an ensemble). No requirement to perform as part of an ensemble.

Requirement to submit complete and unedited recording of the live performance and, where available, the score or lead sheet for that performance.

 

Composition Assessment:

Require students to compose 1 or more pieces of music with a combined duration of at least 2 minutes. Compositions may be in response to an exam board set brief and/or be freely composed, with no requirement to do both. Exam boards to provide clarification about their requirements for students who compose more than 1 piece.

Requirement to submit complete recording of each composition with a score, lead sheet or written account of the composition, produced by the student. The student does not have to perform their own composition(s). The recording(s) may be computer generated.

 

Both NEA components: Allow both NEA components to be marked by the teacher and moderated by the exam board or to be marked directly by the exam board. Exam boards to provide clarification about their requirements.

 

No change to the written paper

 

Students will still be assessed 60% NEA (30% Performance and 30% Composition) and 40% exam paper

 

 

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SUBJECT: GCSE English Language and GCSE English Literature

Examining Board : AQA

 

GCSE English Language (8700)

 

There are no planned changes to the GCSE English Language specification or to the written exams. However, the NEA Speaking and Listening component has been revised to reflect necessary health and safety measures in light of the ongoing pandemic.

All students will sit the following examinations:

Paper One – Explorations in Creative Reading and Writing

The exam is 1 hour and 45 minutes and consists of five questions. A total of 80 marks can be awarded and it is worth 50% of the GCSE.

Section A – Reading (40 marks)

Students are advised to spend one hour on this section in which they will consider and examine one extract from either a 20th or 21st century fiction text. Four questions testing the skills of comprehension, inference, analysis, explanation, and evaluation will be set, of which students must answer all.

  • 1 short form question (1 x 4 marks) assessing students’ ability to identify and interpret explicit and implicit information.
  • 2 longer form questions (2 x 8 marks) assessing students’ ability to analyse and explain the writer’s choice of language and how they have structured a text and the effect achieved.
  • 1 extended question (1 x 20 marks) assessing students’ ability to critically evaluate a text.

 

Section B – Writing (40 marks)

Students are advised to spend 45 minutes on this section and will be asked to complete either a descriptive or narrative writing task. 24 marks are awarded for content and 16 marks for spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

 

Paper Two – Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives

The exam is 1 hour and 45 minutes and consists of five questions. A total of 80 marks can be awarded and it is worth 50% of the GCSE.

 

Section A – Reading (40 marks)

Students are advised to spend one hour on this section in which they will consider and examine two non-fiction texts. One text will be from a 19th century source whilst the second text will be from either a 20th or 21st century source. The extracts will be li ked by a theme, idea, or issue. Four questions testing the skills of comprehension, inference, synthesis, analysis, explanation, and comparison will be set, of which students must answer all.

  • 1 short form question (1 x 4 marks) assessing students’ ability to identify and interpret explicit and implicit information.

 

 

  • 2 longer form questions (1 x 8 marks and 1 x 12 marks) assessing students’ ability to synthesise and construct a summary and analyse and explain the writer’s choice of language and the effect achieved.
  • 1 extended question (1 x 16 marks) assessing students’ ability to compare writers’ perspectives and how they have been conveyed.

 

 

 

 

Section B – Writing (40 marks)

Students are advised to spend 45 minutes on this section and will be asked to complete one transactional writing task. 24 marks are awarded for content and 16 marks for spelling, punctuation, and grammar.

 

NEA Spoken Language Component

Students must complete a non-exam assessed speaking and listening component which does not count towards the GCSE English Language qualification but is awarded separately. Students must complete a short presentation on a specific topic of their choice and respond to questions asked. Students’ presentations must demonstrate the following:

  • Presentation skills in a formal setting
  • Use of spoken Standard English effectively including appropriate and ambitious vocabulary
  • Organisation and effective structure of a range of strategies to engage an audience
  • Perceptive responses to questions and feedback with appropriate elaboration with further information and ideas.

 

Students will be awarded either a Pass, Merit or Distinction grade.

 

In line with necessary health and safety measures the NEA Spoken Language component will now be completed with the following adaptations:

  • Students will now be assessed in front of a single teacher who can represent an ‘audience’ rather than in front of a small group of students or in front of their class.
  • Students will no longer be filmed as there’s no requirement for teachers to submit a sample of audio-visual recordings of Spoken Language assessments.
  • The assessment can be conducted by the teacher at any time during the course and by virtual means.

 

All students will complete their NEA Spoken Language component in the week beginning the 16th November 2020.

 

How can I support my child?

Encourage your child to read a range of non-fiction texts on a weekly basis. Sourced from reputable newspapers and magazines, students must become familiar with the layout, vocabulary and language used in non-fiction sources.

Promote the regular watching of news programmes and documentaries on a range of issues to help build up general knowledge and their opinions and ideas on key issues.

Revision Guide

CGP AQA English Language Complete Revision and Practice for the Grade 9-1 exams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GCSE English Literature (8702)

Due to the considerable content specified in the GCSE English Literature specification and the reduction in guided teaching hours in light of the ongoing pandemic, Ofqual have announced changes to assessment in 2021.

Students will still be required to sit two examinations; however, they will now not sit all components.

 

Therefore, students will drop one text from the following:

  • Poetry anthology
  • 19th century novel
  • Fiction or drama from the British Isles from 1914

 

The following components will remain compulsory:

  • Shakespeare
  • Unseen poetry

 

Careful consideration has been given as to which text each class should no longer be examined on. Previous study and the most effective and efficient way to utilise the time remaining in order to secure the best results for each student has resulted in the following choices for each class:

11ENJCA – Shakespeare/Unseen Poetry/Jekyll and Hyde/An Inspector Calls

11ENJPO – Shakespeare/Unseen Poetry/Poetry Anthology/An Inspector Calls

11ENENI – Shakespeare/Unseen Poetry/Poetry Anthology/An Inspector Calls

 

Students will sit two of the following papers:

Paper 1A – Poetry Anthology/Power and Conflict cluster (11ENJPO and 11ENENI)

Students must complete one 30-mark essay comparing two poems from the selection studied. Students will have 50 minutes to write their response.

 

Paper 1B – 19th Century Novel/Jekyll and Hyde (11ENJCA)

Students must complete one 30-mark extract-based essay. Students will have 50 minutes to write their response.

 

Paper 1C – Fiction or drama from the British Isles from 1914/ An Inspector Calls (All classes)

Students must complete one 30-mark essay from a choice of two. Students will have 50 minutes to write their response.

 

All students will complete the second examination paper. Students will have 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete the exam.

 

Paper 2 Section A – Shakespeare (Macbeth)

Students must complete on 34-mark extract-based essay question.

 

Paper 2 Section B – Unseen Poetry

Students answer two compulsory questions on unseen poetry.

 

Part 1

Students answer one 28-mark question on one unseen poem.

 

Part 2

Students answer one 8-mark question comparing the first unseen poem with a second unseen poem.

 

 

 

How can I support my child?

Regularly test their memory and ability to recall key vocabulary, quotations and contextual facts and ideas relevant to each text.

Proofread any practice essays.

Encourage them to watch any film or TV versions of texts studied.

Encourage them to watch any documents relating to Elizabethan and Jacobean England, Victorian history, women’s rights and any relating to war.

Encourage students to reread each text at least twice.

Revision Guides and Films

GCSE English Literature AQA Poetry Guide: Power & Conflict Anthology – for the Grade 9-1 Course (CGP GCSE English 9-1 Revision)

GCSE English Literature AQA Poetry Workbook: Power & Conflict Anthology (includes Answers) (CGP GCSE English 9-1 Revision)

Grade 9-1 GCSE English Literature AQA Unseen Poetry Guide – Book 1 (CGP GCSE English 9-1 Revision)

Grade 9-1 GCSE English Shakespeare Text Guide – Macbeth (CGP GCSE English 9-1 Revision)

Grade 9-1 GCSE English Shakespeare – Macbeth Workbook (includes Answers) (CGP GCSE English 9-1 Revision)

Grade 9-1 GCSE English Text Guide – Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (CGP GCSE English 9-1 Revision)

Grade 9-1 GCSE English – Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde Workbook (includes Answers) (CGP GCSE English 9-1 Revision)

Grade 9-1 GCSE English Text Guide – An Inspector Calls (CGP GCSE English 9-1 Revision)

Grade 9-1 GCSE English – An Inspector Calls Workbook (includes Answers) (CGP GCSE English 9-1 Revision)

Macbeth Films – 2015 version starring Michael Fassbender or 1971 version starring Francesca Annis

An Inspector Calls – BBC version (2015) or 1954 version starring Alistair Sim

Also visits to Shakespeare’s Birthplace and related sites in and around Stratford and the Black Country museum.

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SUBJECT:  GCSE Physical Education (9-1) J587

 

  • Students taking GCSE Physical Education in Summer 2021 will only need to be assessed in two activities. Both activities must be from the approved list of sports.
  • Ofqual has confirmed that it will allow remote moderation using filmed evidence for all activities. Therefore, they will not be conducting moderation visits in summer 2021. They will release information soon to explain the requirements for remote moderation.
  • Ofqual has confirmed that exam boards can explore relaxing the requirements for demonstrating competitive situations. They will provide clarification on what forms of evidence they will accept shortly.
  • The examined components will remain unchanged.

 

 

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SUBJECT:  MATHS

Mathematics GCSE (Edexcel)

No change to assessment arrangements for 2021

Specification from Exam Board website Link

Assessment guide from Exam Board website Link

Subject Code – GCSE (9 to 1) – 1MA1

QN Number – GCSE (9 to 1) – 601/4700/3

Any of the topics on the specification can appear on any of the papers.

GCSE Assessment Structure

Paper 1 – Non-calculator

(Foundation and Higher papers – 1hr 30mins – 80 marks)

Paper 2 – Calculator

(Foundation and Higher papers – 1hr 30 mins – 80 marks)

Paper 3 – Calculator

(Foundation and Higher papers – 1hr 30 min – 80 marks)

Tiers

Foundation tier – grades 1 to 5 available

Higher tier grades – 4 to 9 available

 

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SUBJECT: GCSE Media Studies

Examining Board: AQA

GCSE Media Studies (8572)

There are no planned changes to the GCSE Media Studies specification or to the written exams. However, the NEA Creating a media product component has been revised to reflect both necessary health and safety measures and reduced guided teaching hours in light of the ongoing pandemic.

All students will sit the following examinations:

Paper One – Media One

The exam is 1 hour and 30 minutes and consists of five questions. A total of 84 marks can be awarded and it is worth 35% of the GCSE. Students will answer a range of questions relating to an unseen source and Close Study Products. An extended response question worth 20 marks is also included.

Section A will focus on Media Language and Media Representations.

Questions in this section can test any two of the following forms:

  • magazines
  • advertising and marketing
  • newspapers
  • online, social and participatory media and video games. S

Section B will focus on Media Industries and Media Audiences.

Questions in this section can test any two of the following forms:

  • radio
  • music video
  • newspapers
  • online, social and participatory media and video games #
  • film (industries only).

 

Paper Two – Media Two

The exam is 1 hour and 30 minutes and consists of five questions. A total of 84 marks can be awarded and it is worth 35% of the GCSE.

Section A will be based on a screening from an extract of one of the television Close Study Products and can test any area of the theoretical framework. Section B will be based on either newspapers or online, social and participatory media and video games and can test any area of the framework.

Short, medium and extended response questions will be set assessing depth of knowledge and understanding of the course.

 

 

NEA – Creating a media product

The non-exam assessed unit assess students’ application of knowledge and understanding of the theoretical framework. As well as their ability to create media products. It is worth 60 marks and 30% of the GCSE. Assessed by teachers and moderated by AQA, it is created in response to a choice of one of five annually changing briefs, set by the exam board.

Students must produce a statement of intent and a media product for an intended audience.

Due to the impact of the ongoing pandemic, Ofqual in conjunction with AQA have reviewed the NEA component of the course. As well as accepting the standard submissions of final products, submissions of a prototype/mock-up with supporting evidence will also be allowed.

The current instruction to penalise students for the use of non-original images has also been removed, as these could form part of a valid supporting evidence of submissions.

AQA will also further update the briefs used to set the creation of the media products. We expect this to be confirmed imminently.

 

Revision Guide

AQA GCSE Media Studies Revision Guide by Steff Hutchinson

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SUBJECT: Modern Foreign Languages (MFL), Ridgeway Secondary School

AQA– our current exam board that we conduct GCSE examinations with here at Ridgeway- are working hard to make the relevant changes to their qualifications following Ofqual’s decisions on summer 2021 exams, so here are the changes you need to know about for all GCSE Languages. These changes only apply to the 2021 exam series.

 

Speaking

To reduce pressures on teaching time, the Ofqual consultation outcome confirmed that the spoken language assessment in summer 2021 will be an endorsement reported on a 3-point scale (pass, merit and distinction) against common assessment criteria. Students’ speaking skills will be assessed by teachers during the course of study and the endorsement level of pass, merit or distinction will be reported alongside the 9-1 grade.

The common assessment criteria will be published shortly by Ofqual. Further detailed guidance to help teachers in their assessments will also be published shortly.

Writing

There will be more optionality in the writing components, so the 2021 Writing papers will include an additional optional question for the overlap question at both tiers (Question 4/Question 1) and for Higher tier Question 2. This is so students can answer on their preferred theme. For each optional question, the theme will be given in the introduction to the question in the question paper.

Foundation tier

There will be an additional option for Question 4 and this will be numbered in the question paper as Question 4.3. Students will need to answer one question from a choice of three.

Higher tier

  • There will be an additional option for Question 1 and this will be numbered in the question paper as Question 1.3. Students will need to answer one question from a choice of three.
  • There will be an additional option for Question 2 and this will be numbered in the question paper as Question 2.3. Students will need to answer one question from a choice of three.

To give students time to read all of the optional questions carefully before making a choice, we’ll be adding an extra five minutes to the scheduled exam time at both tiers for the Writing paper in 2021. This means that:

  • the Foundation tier Writing exam will last for one hour and five minutes.
  • the Higher tier Writing exam will last for one hour and 20 minutes.

 

Vocabulary

Following the removal of the regulatory requirement for assessments to use words outside of vocabulary lists and the regulatory permission to gloss where necessary, AQA have reviewed all of the draft Listening and Reading papers for the 2021 exams. AQA will be making some changes at both tiers to reflect this.

In Listening and Reading papers, a small number of basic vocabulary items may still be included (eg primary colours, cognates/near cognates) not listed in the specification which will not be glossed and which students may need to understand in order to answer the questions. This is because excluding such items from the assessments is likely to increase the demand of the tasks.

We know that you’ll want to know more about the changes for next summer. AQA will thus be publishing further guidance about the summer 2021 exams over the coming months and we will then also make this guidance clear to you as parents and guardians as soon as we receive it.

Mr A Ayton

Head of Modern Foreign Languages, Ridgeway Secondary School.

 

 

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